23: Jesus Christ Will Come to Redeem His People (Alma 8–12)
Have you ever psyched yourself up to share the gospel with someone, and then. . . it didn’t go how you had hoped? Turns out Alma may know a little of what that feels like. In this week's study group, we'll talk about Alma's missionary efforts and uniting with Amulek in Alma 8–12 to see what that can teach us about God's presence behind the scenes of our lives.
Photo of Tammy in the telecenter:
Where does Alma go next to teach people the word of God?
Ammonihah: “The –iah part means "Ammon is God." Of course, Ammon was the god of the empire. Ammon is by far the most common name in the Book of Mormon. It also means "the great god, most high god, the hidden god," and all sorts of things. (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part Two)
What kind of people did the people of Ammonihah used to be?
- They used to be "a highly favored people of the Lord; yea, after having been favored above every other anation, kindred, tongue, or people" (Alma 9:20).
- They were "avisited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of btranslation" (Alma 9:21).
- They had been delivered by God out of the land of Jersualem and preserved by the hand of the Lord (Alma 9:22).
- They were people who had received so many blessings, and yet transgressed, contrary to the light and knowledge which they had. (Alma 9:23).
- They were taught that the promises of the Lord are no longer extended to them if they rebelled (Alma 9:24).
What were the people of Ammonihah like now?
How do the people of Ammonihah respond to Alma?
"Nevertheless, they hardened their hearts, saying unto him: Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions" (Alma 8:11).
What was this experience like for Alma?
"Nevertheless Alma alabored much in the spirit, bwrestling with God in cmighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance" (Alma 8:10).
Sunday on Monday Episode discussing Enos: Lesson 13: He Works in Me to Do His Will (March 23–March 29)
Reference for Enos’s wrestle before God: Enos 1:2
How did the people react to Alma?
"12 And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou hast no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment-seat unto aNephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us.
"13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and areviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be bcast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron" (Alma 8:12-13).
Quote: “Faith is powerful, and often it does result in miracles. But no matter how much faith we have, … it cannot violate another person’s agency.
“One woman prayed for years that her wayward daughter would return to the fold of Christ and felt discouraged that her prayers had seemingly gone unanswered. This was especially painful when she heard stories of other prodigal children who had repented of their ways.
“The problem was not a lack of prayers or a shortage of faith. She needed only to understand that, as painful as it might be for our Father in Heaven, He will not force anyone to choose the path of righteousness. …
“God will invite, persuade. God will reach out tirelessly with love and inspiration and encouragement. But God will never compel—that would undermine His great plan for our eternal growth” (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Fourth Floor, Last Door,” General Conference, October 2016).
How does Alma react to the rejection from the people of Ammonihah?
"14 And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much atribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an bangel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
"15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that adelivered it unto you" (Alma 8:14-15).
*This is the same angel who originally called Alma to repentance.
What does the Angel tell Alma to do, and how does Alma respond?
"16 And behold, I am sent to acommand thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will bdestroy them.
"18 Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah" (Alma 8:16, 18).
Quote: “However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure. Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation... A loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son have given us all the help they can to pass the test of life set before us. But we must decide to obey and then do it. We build the faith to pass the tests of obedience over time and through our daily choices. We can decide now to do quickly whatever God asks of us” (President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Ready,” General Conference, October 2005).
Alma was hungry when he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. He didn't know beforehand that the Lord was preparing nourishment for him Alma 8:19.
Who received Alma into his house?
"And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an aangel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my bfood; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house" (Alma 8:20).
What do we know about Amulek?
- Alma tarried many days with Amulek (Alma 8:27).
- Amulek had no small reputation, he was wealthy and had lots of friends and family (Alma 10:4).
- The Lord had blessed Amulek’s family and household (Alma 10:11).
- Amulek forsook all his gold, silver, and precious things for the word of God (Alma 15:16).
- Amulek was rejected by those who he once called his friends, his kindred, and his father (Alma 15:16).
- Amulek went with Alma to Alma’s house, where Alma strengthened Amulek in his tribulations and took care of him (Alma 15:18).
Scripture Tyler references about “In the mouth of two or three witnesses,” see “Law of Witness” entry under “Witness” in the Guide to the Scriptures.
Scriptures about how the Lord knows what we need:
- "But the Lord aknoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all bpower unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen" (1 Nephi 9:6).
- "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father aknoweth what things ye have bneed of, before ye ask him" (Matthew 6:8).
Quote: “The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly. Sometimes that help is given in the very moment or at least soon after we ask for divine help. Sometimes our most earnest and worthy desires are not answered in the way we hope, but we find that God has greater blessings in store. And sometimes our righteous desires are not granted in this life...Brothers and sisters, sometimes our prayers are answered quickly with the outcome we hope for. Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the way we hope for, yet with time we learn that God had greater blessings prepared for us than we initially anticipated. And sometimes our righteous petitions to God will not be granted in this life. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Faith also includes trust in God’s timing” (Elder Brook P. Hales, “Answers to Prayers,” General Conference, April 2019).
How do the people react after Alma has talked to them?
- (Alma 9:2) "Who art thou? Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of aone man, although he should preach unto us that the earth should pass away?"
- (Alma 9:5) "Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous aworks, for they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people."
- (Alma 9:6) "And they said: aWho is God, that sendeth bno more authority than one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?"
What does Alma warn the people of?
- (Alma 9:12) Alma teaches that they are commanded to repent, or they will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
- (Alma 9:18) Alma repeats that if they do not repent, they will be visited with utter destruction.
- (Alma 9:24) He teaches them that the promises of the Lord are not extended to them if they transgress.
*The destruction of the people of Ammonihah is recorded in Alma Chapter 16.
How does Alma feel about the people of Ammonihah?
"And now, my abeloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye ought to be beloved, and ye ought to bring forth works which are meet for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a blost and a fallen people" (Alma 9:30).
In Alma Chapter 10 Amulek starts to teach after Alma testifies, and then the people cross examine him.
How did the people react to Amulek's teaching?
- At first the people were surprised that there was more than one witness to Alma's words (Alma 10:12).
- People became more angry with Amulek after he taught. (Alma 10:24).
- Amulek cried the mightier to them amidst their outbursts and tricks. (Alma 10:25).
Quote: “Satan won't have power unless you yield yourself up to him, and that's what they have done here. As Joseph Smith said, Satan cannot force us to sin, and God will not force our free will. So we are responsible. It is by deception that he blinds you. He uses all the correct answers to make us blind by telling us lies-lies like truth. “that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?" You'll understand the words, but not according to their truth. You can twist them-twisting words, as he says, is the lawyer's business. He has outraged their defense; they are the untouchables. Verse 26: "For behold, have I testified against your law?" They said he had. He said, no, you are breaking the law; that's what we are testifying about. "I say unto you that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges” (High Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part 2).
Final word from Amulek, or as Tammy says, the “mic drop”:
"For behold, have I testified against your law? Ye do not understand; ye say that I have spoken against your law; but I have not, but I have spoken in favor of your law, to your condemnation" (Alma 10:26).
“Measure of Barley”:
In Alma 11:7 Alma teaches the value of the coins in comparison with a measure of barley.
Quote: “Notice that things were measured in terms of barley. This is very interesting because the first Babylonian and the first Egyptian money were always the amount of silver necessary to buy a measure of barley. It was always barley. It wasn't emer wheat or the other grains they had. But barley was it. It was the word for money, and it was what they used. It started in Babylonia supposedly that barley was a silver standard, but the final decision was how much you could buy with it, of course. That was determined by how much you would have to pay for a measure of barley. But the fact that it's barley they refer to, I think, is very striking because nobody knew that in Joseph Smith's day. It wasn't until the 1850s that they discovered that. It first came out in the Babylonian [civilization], and then later was discovered in Egypt that barley was the standard.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part Two 2, 317)
In Alma 11:13 we learn that an “Onti was as great as them all.” The value of an Onti was equivalent to one weeks worth of wages for a judge. (Larry E. Dahl, Edited by Kent P. Jackson, Studies In Scripture, Volume 7: 1 Nephi to Alma 29, Pg. 198, footnote 3.)
- (Alma 11:21) Zeezrom began to question Amulek, he was an "expert in the devices of the devil."
- (Alma 11:22) Zeezrom tells Amulek he will give him money if Amulek will deny that there is a God.
- (Alma 11:23-24) Amulek tells Zeezrom that the righteous "yieldeth to no such temptations." He also points out that Zeezrom does believe in God, he just loves lucre more than God.
- (Alma 11:25) Amulek tells Zeezrom that he knows Zeezrom was never going to give him the money in the first place.
- (Alma 11:26) Zeezrom begins to start asking genuine question
- (Alma 11:46) The people began to be astonished, and Zeezrom began to tremble.
- (Alma 12:1,7) Zeezrom begins to be concious of his guilt. He trembles as he's convinced of the power of the word of God,
Quote: "Even the Omnipotent [all-powerful] One, the Lord Jehovah, cannot save his people in their sins. He came on a search-and-rescue mission to save people from their sins" (Joseph Fielding McConkie and others, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume 3, Pg 76).
Alma teaches Zeezrom, and Zeezrom’s heart begins to change (Alma 12:3-8).
How does Alma answer Zeezrom’s question about the final judgement day?
"14 For our awords will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the bmountains to fall upon us to chide us from his presence.
"15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting ashame that all his bjudgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance" (Alma 12:14-15).
Quote: “From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” General Conference, October 2000).
What does Alma teach Zeezrom?
- We must stand before God on judgement day and he has all power and mercy to save (Alma 12:15).
- Alma gives Zeezrom hope by explaining how everyone who repenteth can receive a remission of their sins through Jesus Christ (Alma 12:34).
- Alma explains the laws of God, and teaches of the “supreme goodness of God” (Alma 12:32).
“I may not always walk the straight and narrow, but I sure as hell try to cross it as often as I can” (J. Golden Kimball).
I don't know if you guys know this, but in the early 90's, the Missionary Training Center had something called the tele-center, and I was a part of that. The Church would play these really cool videos, and little vignettes that you could watch, and at the end, it would say, "If you'd like to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, call this number." And when they would call it, they could either get a recording, and then that morning, we would come in and we would return phone calls from people in the middle of the night, or we would just get direct calls. And it was truly the most incredible experience. It was like a waterfall of yes’s and successes. I mean, everybody wanted the missionaries to come. When I walked off that plane to Fresno, California, I was convinced that I would convert anyone living within 100 mile radius of Fresno, California, and boy was I in for a rude awakening. I thought of that today as I was preparing for this lesson because now I kind of get how Alma must have felt when he left the people of Zarahemla, Gideon and Melek. We will talk about that, and more, in today's episode as we study Alma chapters 8 through 12, and I may even include a picture in the show notes of me in the MTC tele-center with that headset on, because I did look pretty awesome. Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Desert Bookshelf plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the come follow me lesson for the week and really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. So this podcast is about an hour long and you can listen to the full study group discussion all at once, or you can also listen to this in segments, one segment per day as you study. They last about 12 to 14 minutes, and you'll hear a little bit of music at the end of each segment, which lets you know that you finished that segment. So listen for the music. Now another really, great thing that I love about this study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends. So today we have got Jalyn and Tyler . Now Jalyn she's one of our regulars, so you're going to recognize her voice. And Tyler, he is our newbie.
How you doing Tam?
Hi, Tammy. Thanks for having me.
I did the math. I've known you for 32 years.
Uh, yeah, I think that's—I'm going to take your word for it.
Which is honestly like 36, right? No, I'm just kidding. Well, I think about it—Tyler and I grew up together in St. Louis, Missouri.
And then how cool is this? Then Tyler married my sister, so I've known Tyler for a very long time.
I had a crush on her through grade school, through Junior High, through high school, and I was trying to work my moves, but it wasn't happening. I was a good friend, but that's all I was.
Yeah, your guys' story is a good one. And then they ended up marrying different people, got divorced, and then they met back up.
Oh, look at that.
Isn't that a great story? I know. I love their story. It's, it's so sweet. I feel like my guests are the opening of a really bad joke. Like I would say, "Did you hear the one about the lawyer and the cop? They walked into a room...
There are a lot of those.
When I asked you two to be on the podcast. I didn't even think what we were studying. I just—the thought came: ask Jalyn, ask Tyler, and I was like, "AIright." I asked you guys, then I went into the scriptures. And I was blown away because it's all about keeping the law, obtaining the laws, supporting the law, everything and then I was like, "Oh my gosh," and I have Tyler who's a sheriff, Jalyn who's a lawyer. Here we go, Alma 8 through 12. If you want to see pictures of my guests, you can go and find those on our show notes, which are at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday, and read fun bios about each one of them. And just in case, you're all wondering, we're still in our closets recording, so hopefully the sound doesn't sound too weird. There's Tyler. I can see all of your shirts and ties behind you. Fantastic. Oh, I love it. So are you guys ready to study?
Let's do it.
Okay, let's grab our scriptures and let's dig in. Alright, you two, what's the toughest calling you've ever been given and why?
Ugh, toughest calling. I like all the call—well, I'll tell you, single adult coordinator in a family ward. I really owe that Bishop an apology because I did not do that duty with heart full of song. I'll tell you that right now.
I love it. Tyler, what about you?
Mine was Cub Scout Master? I just, I didn't want the responsibilities of organizing everything. Luckily for me, though, it was at, I think I was called the middle of last year, and with scouts ending at the end of the year, so it didn't last very long, luckily, but I did my best.
Yeah, I'll give that to you. That's a tough one. I was assistant Scoutmaster.
People start talking about it's like, I don't even understand what goes on in that world.
No, no, neither did I, we never did—and we have all girls, so—why am I investing?
I still don't.
Yeah, and you're an Eagle Scout. Anyway, okay. I like this question because I think that this assignment that Alma has, might be the toughest assignment I've ever heard of. We are going to go into Alma, chapter eight, verse six, and we're going to find out where his first assignment is outside of the goodness where he was with Zarahemla, Gideon and Melek. He had such a good experience there. And now he has a transfer, for those of you returned missionaries, he's transferred to city of Ammonihah and let's read verse six, Jalyn will you read that for us?
Sure, "So that when he had finished his work at Melek, he departed thence, and traveled three days journey on the north of the land of Melek; and he came to a city which was called Ammonihah."
Let's highlight that name of the city, Ammonihah, and one of the things that we've learned about is that ending, "ihah," it denotes of God or of Jehovah. This was at one point, a very good group of people. Now, we don't know who the Ammon exactly is, one of the things we have to know—and this is according to Hugh Nibley—he said that, "Amman is by far the most common name in the Book of Mormon," but it means the great God the Most High God, or the hidden God, and so this name denotes that these were a good people. Let's write this cross reference that shows how good these people were, put Alma chapter nine, verses 20 through 24. Because one of the things we have to understand is he's coming into a people that he's going to continually say, "You guys need to repent, you need to get it together. If you don't repent, you're going to be miserable." And in Alma, chapter nine, he actually says, "Hey, you're remember the Lamanites, right? The guys that don't like us, and we don't like them? You know what, God has far more compassion for them who've been doing wrong forever, because they were taught wrong, than He's going to have for you guys. You know what is right, you've just chosen not to be a part of it anymore. And so verses 20 through 24 actually tell us how great they were, that they had experiences of speaking in tongues and feeling the spirit. So I'm just giving you that as a little bit of a cross reference so we can understand who these people are. So go back to Alma, chapter eight now, and we're going to read another verse. We're going to read verse nine. And Tyler, will you please read that for us?
"Now, Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people of the city Ammonihah, therefore, they would not hearken unto the words of Alma."
Okay, thank you. So we can see that Satan is definitely working on these people. I even like how they respond in verse 11. I'll read verse 11. "Nevertheless, they harden their hearts saying, unto him, [or Alma,] behold, we know that thou art Alma, and we know that thou art a high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition. And we are not of thy church," and in parentheses, I put, "anymore," like, "We're not, like, we're not a part of that anymore." So who do you think—we know who you are, you don't really have any authority over us, at all. And this is causing Alma to be so sad. So here's the verse I really want us to focus on is verse 10. And Tyler, will you read verse 10? And as you're reading this verse, I want you guys to kind of think about what you think his words were, or what this was—this experience was like for Alma, so go ahead, Tyler.
"Nevertheless, Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer that He would be pour out His Spirit upon the people who were in the city, that He would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance."
Look at some of those words in there. Like what kind of prayer are we talking about? What do you think it sounded like?
Intense, yeah, struggle.
Oh I like that.
I mean it, it's kind of like, like I think of a parent who has had a child, who they've raised in the Gospel, and then has chosen a different path. And just that, that prayer of a mother and a father of like, just with that kind of intensity of like, "Oh, please just come back."
Just feels that same kind of pleading with the Lord.
Yeah. So he says this really incredible prayer. We know what verse 11 says, the people are like, yeah, we don't really care. But let's read verses 12 and 13. And Jalyn, will you read those for us?
Yeah, but one question before I read that, so I remember, I remember the podcast talking, talking about Enos, where you talked about wrestling before God as opposed to with God. Tell me what the difference in that is again?
Jalyn, that's a great question. So you're referring to the part of the verse in Alma, chapter eight, verse 10, where it says that Alma wrestled, it says, Alma labored much in spirit wrestling with God in mighty prayer. I don't know. I mean, maybe we should take this to social media and ask you guys, what do you guys think? Is there a difference between wrestling before God, like Enos says, or wrestling with God, like Alma says? Let us know. I think that's a great question to ask. I'd like to know what everybody thinks. Okay, so Jalyn let's go back to those verses 12 and 13.
"And now we know that because we are not of the church, we know that thou hast no power over us ,and now has delivered up the judgment seat unto Nephihah, therefore thou art not the Chief Judge over us. Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took this journey towards the city which was called Aaron."
It kind of reminds me of like, A teenager saying, "Well, you can't tell us what to do. You're not the boss of my body."
You ever say that Tyler? You ever heard that one?
I might've heard that once or twice in the house, yeah.
Oh, I think, you know, and I wonder if, I mean, look at what's going on in verse 13. I mean, spit on. Come on. I just wonder if Alma is like, "Boy, those were good days back in the land of Zarahemla and Gideon."
I want to go back to that transfer.
I've noticed in people's lives when they leave the Church, they seem to go completely opposite. It's not just a little bit astray from the Gospel, like, it's totally different from how they were raised. And for me, this is very much like, I don't know what the scripture references, but you know, like those people who want to be given that much light and knowledge. So I think it's fascinating how you go from like, such great light to such the opposite way.
Mhmm. That's exactly the people of Ammonihah, I mean, they were—they had so much light, and I like how in chapter nine it says, "After having been such a highly favored people of the Lord," I mean they just— the pendulum just swung the opposite, they're like, "Yeah, we don't want—we're, you can't even, you're not in charge of us. Who you think you are Alma? And it's interesting
And it even says, it even says, sorry, but it even says they converse with angels. They have the Spirit of Prophecy, revelation, speaking with tongues translations, like wow, they, they really took a deep.
Absolutely. And now we have this prayer, and it doesn't get answered. Like, what is the human response to that? Would—I mean if, if you weren't a prophet, but you had prayed and then you go back in, and the people are spitting on you, what's your reaction, as a normal person?
Talk about a downer! You know, because I mean, because seriously, I mean, if—he just, he just left Melek, Gideon, where he was very successful. He's coming off of a win, he's high-fiving everybody on the way out, he's happy, he's doing the Lord's work."
The Church is set up, yeah, everyone believes.
The Church is set up. Okay, where's my next city? Oh, Ammonihah, easy peasy, let's go hit it. You know? And then, bam, oh hey, we know who you are you—get gone, we don't want you around. And then, okay gosh, well, let's pray about this, you know? To me, for Alma, it just kind of blows my mind just how deeply he really, you know, wanted to do the Lord's work with this, and to get these people to repent.
This is a great quote by Elder Uchtdorf, it's from a talk—I like the name of the talk, "Fourth Floor, Last Door." And I, kind of, think that maybe this is how Alma was feeling because he's had so much success. And let's read this quote, “Faith is powerful, and often it does result in miracles. But no matter how much faith we have, … it cannot violate another person’s agency. One woman prayed for years that her wayward daughter would return to the fold of Christ and felt discouraged that her prayers had seemingly gone unanswered. This was especially painful when she heard stories of other prodigal children who had repented of their ways. The problem was not a lack of prayers or a shortage of faith. She needed only to understand that, as painful as it might be for our Father in Heaven, He will not force anyone to choose the path of righteousness. . . God will invite, persuade. God will reach out tirelessly with love and inspiration and encouragement. But God will never compel—that would undermine His great plan for our eternal growth” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Fourth Floor, Last Door,” General Conference, October 2016).
And so we have this, this group of people in Ammonihah, and God is going to invite, or Alma will invite all of these things, but he's not going to force these people. And as we read this story, pay attention to that idea of how many times Alma invites them. And his companion, who we'll meet in a minute, how many times he invites them, because Alma's prayer was absolutely effective, and that it opened the door to a remarkable visit by an angel of the Lord, but not just any angel. We're going to talk about the angel. We will talk about that in the next segment.
Okay, both of you, I know, have experience in this department. When you ask someone to do something, is there an assumed timeframe, or is it implied?
For me, it's implied, immediate.
For me, in my work-related profession, the sooner, the better. Usually, if we're asking, if we're asking somebody to do something, it's for a pretty good reason, whether it's safety-involved, or something. So yeah, the timeframe is kind of the essence on that.
So we're going to talk about this idea of a timeframe relating to God and Alma in this next part of the story, where he's given a timeframe that seems a little surprising, it wouldn't be your normal reaction. So let's go in and read about this and Alma chapter eight, and we're going to do verses 14 and 15. First. So let's see Jalyn, will you read that for us?
Sure. "And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass, while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared under him saying, 'Blessed art thou, Alma, therefore lift up they head and rejoice, for thou hast great cost to rejoice, for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God, from the time which thou receivest thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered unto you.'"
Okay, go back to verse 14, first of all, and how is he reacting after being reviled and spit on? How's he feeling?
Not good, weighed down with sorrow. Anguish of soul.
He's feeling awful.
Super sad, right? Which is interesting, because in the very next verse, what does the angel tell him to do?
Go on back, do it again.
Lift up your head and rejoice. You have a lot of reason to rejoice.
That's what kills me, like, what? What's he got to rejoice in? He just, you know, he just, yeah I just got spit on, can't find any goodness in that, right?
But I think I would feel pretty dang good if an angel came down and said, "You've been really faithful in keeping the commandments." I'm like, "Whoa, really? I thought, I thought I was doing horribly." I'd feel pretty good about it.
I'd feel pretty good about it.
You know, that I would get spit on if I could have that happen too.
Yes! I agree Tyler.
Totally. Well, and I mean, why would it be so hard to be obedient in this situation?
He just got spit on, do we need to go back to that?
He literally just got spit on.
Okay, and I want to point out, though, what's so unique about this—and I loved it like, "I'd get spit on for this experience." Look at the end of verse 15, because we talked about this last segment at the very end, the angel that appeared unto him, "I am he that delivered it unto you." That's the original angel that called him to repentance. That's what's so great. Like, "Remember me? Yeah, I'm, I'm the one that scared you, caused you to be gone for three days and three nights Hello?"
Yeah, one of two reactions either you're like, "Oh, you are good," like, "Oh, he's the OG that told me to repent and I'm doing it and he said it's good." Or you're like, "You're the guy?! I've got some issue with you. I just got spit on, dude."
So let's go to verse 18 because, Tyler, I want you to read this. So he's told to go back into the city, in verse—actually Tyler, read verse 16, and then skip to 18.
Sixteen, and then 18, alright. "And behold, I am sent to commend thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city. Yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent, the Lord God will destroy them. And now it came to pass, that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord, he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way. Yea, by the way, which is on the south, the city of Ammonihah.
How do he go?
Let's mark that word.
Yes, speedily. Can we talk about that for a second? Like, what did he think was going to happen?
I don't know.
What do you mean? Like, what did you think was gonna happen to him when he went back into the city?
Yes, I'm so intrigued with this.
I just think, you know, when we talk about before, like, he's so weighed down with sorrow that they're not repenting, like, he knows that their life he's wrestling before God, like he is emotionally invested in this. And so I think for him, it's like, "Whoa, an Angel just gave me the charge?" Like, that wouldn't be such a shot of adrenaline of like, "I'm going to, I'm going to take it by storm," like, "I'm gonna go back in, I'm so worried about it, and he's telling me there's a way."
I'm almost wondering if, if he gets like, "Okay, the angel knows something that maybe I don't, so if I return, maybe the hearts will be softened, I'll be able to call repentance on some of these people." I don't know. I'm wondering, I'm kind of wondering if that's what he was thinking to get them to move so quickly.
Yeah. Well, because the human in me thinks, you know, he could have pulled a Jonah. Like, "I'm just going to hang out in the belly of a whale for a while. I'm going to wait for this thing to simmer down." I mean, it's the human response is like, "Right now?" Like, "I got to go back now? These people hate me." And I wonder if there was any part of that in his brain that I don't know, maybe not because he just was so speedily just like, "Done. All right, I'm going back."
Well, I, he followed that angel's advice before, and, and I'm pretty sure his life got better after that.
You know, so it's like, "I trust I trust in what he's saying. I followed through what he did this time. I'm way better off than I was before."
How does this translate into our own lives though? How easily do we listen to the voice of the Lord and do things speedily? Do you think it’s just because he's a prophet that he can do it, because he had an angelic visit, that it's easier for him to do things speedily?
I'm going to go with angelic visit.
I think we all question the voice of the Lord. Okay, I'm not going to say, "We all," Jalyn will question the voice of the Lord sometimes and not know, oh but was that me? Was that really it? Oh, yeah.
Really? Really? Can we have some time to think it over?
You know, I usually I get a little begrudging and just kind of like, "Are you serious? Do I have to? I just—ugh, fine.
Mhmm, 100%. Let's go to this quote by elder Henry B. Eyring because he teaches that prompt obedience to the Lord is necessary for our spiritual well-being. And this, I really like how he says this. So Tyler, will you read this quote for us?
“However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure. Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation... A loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son have given us all the help they can to pass the test of life set before us. But we must decide to obey and then do it. We build the faith to pass the tests of obedience over time and through our daily choices. We can decide now to do quickly whatever God asks of us” (President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Ready,” General Conference, October 2005).
What lessons should we be learning from this and from Alma?
I liked what, what President Eyring said about—that you have to continually do it. You know, that we do, we can't just do it once and like, like you have to it's a practice, especially when, you know, when we're not having angelic visitations. And it's the voice of the Lord. We have to practice that.
Yeah, we have to keep putting our trust in the Lord. You know, we may not understand it, and we, we may choose not to understand it at at some point in time. But as we continue to put our trust in that and make up our decisions now to put our trust in the Lord, with whatever he's asking from us, you know, it'll work out.
So Alma does, he goes right back into the city—and by the way, I totally appreciate verse 19. Jalyn, I, will you read this for me because I love what it says right here, go ahead read verse 19.
"And as he entered the city, he was an hungered, and he said to a man, we give to an humble servant of God, something to eat."
I really liked that he says he's hungry. I mean, I'm down in the dumps if I go one meal.
I feel like this makes him seems so, like he's so hungry, and he goes in. And like he can, I mean, I truly can barely handle skipping a meal, but for Alma, there's no mention of what to expect. The angel didn't say, "Hey, by the way, I've prepared things for you. So just go back in, you're going to be fine." I mean, he's hungry. He turns around, and you know he doesn't know anything. He's just going back into the city. And in the next segment, we're going to learn about the Lord's intentions, and what he's been orchestrating for the benefit of Alma in answer to that prayer when he wrestled with God.
Tyler and Jalyn, do either of you have a story where hindsight really was 2020? Like when you recognize that God had been making plans and orchestrating things for you when maybe you thought he had forgotten about you?
Well for me? Go. Go ahead.
No, I want you to go.
I was going to say for me, I mean, we kind of talked about it in the intro a little bit, in my divorce. Back in 2005 is when it was final. Completely in despair, I mean, I was in a dark place at that time. I didn't know why, I didn't know why things were happening the way that they were happening. I didn't know what my future held, that's for sure.
And you had two little girls.
I had two little girls at the time, a five-year-old and a three year old, and I, What was I gonna do? I'm a single dad. I don't make much money. You know, I just wasn't sure of my future. Today I can look back and say, "You know what, I really wasn't alone." I, that's just kind of what my hindsight 2020 is, is I was prepared to marry your sister and be able to provide a good life for her."
Jalyn, what about you?
So mine is probably the timing of going to law school. So I'm, I'm a reformed attorney, I like to say. I don't, I don't practice right now, but there were many times when I, earlier in my life, when I wanted to go to law school, I decided not to, and got my Masters of Public Administration and met you. And I feel like that was very,
Well that's it right there. That's the 2020. Isn't that the story?
Yeah, basically, basically.
Oh, that's so nice of you, Jalyn.
I would not be on this podcast. Um, so I ended up going to law school, and for me law school was definitely my Martin Harris thing, where if you just kept asking, and I think God's like, just do what you want to do, you keep saying it anyway. And so it's still the question that I, in 2020, I still don't have the 2020 vision. Well, I guess I do. So when I came out of law school, both of my sisters went through very horrible divorces. And I feel like the law degree was really just for that, it was to kind of help people through that time of their life. A. I didn't go when I wanted to, because I was supposed to meet you. And then when I did go, it really was just a practice for a few years to kind of help some people near and dear to me through their circumstances.
That's pretty cool.
That is. Both of your examples are wonderful. Thank you for sharing those. Now, there's a really cool, hindsight, 2020 experience, here, because Alma goes into Ammonihah, not even knowing what the Lord has been orchestrating all the time, that he was wrestling and speaking to these people, and let's read about that in Alma chapter eight, verse 20. And if you have a sticky note, I highly recommend getting one because I have a sticky note that I put in my scriptures with these references.
We're going to talk about one man right now, pause if you can go find a big sticky note or some kind of piece of paper you can write on and stick your scriptures. You're going to want all of these cross references. Let's start with Alma, chapter eight, verse 20. And I'll read this: "And the man said unto him, I'm a Nephite. And I know that thou art a holy prophet of God for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision, thou shalt receive. Therefore go with me into my house, and I will impart unto thee of my food, and I know that that will be a blessing unto me and my house." Verse 21, "And it came to pass, that the man received him into his house, and the man was called Amulek and he brought forth bread and meat and set before Alma." On my sticky note, I have put the words Amulek, let's highlight his name in verse 21. I'm going to give you a bunch of cross references because I want us to know about Amulek before we go on in this story. You have to know who he is and where he's coming from before you can appreciate all the words that he's going to share with the people of Ammonihah.
So we just read Alma chapter eight, versus, it starts in verse 20, and it goes through verse 27. One of the things you need to know is at the end in verse 27, it says, "Alma tarried many days with Amulek before he began to preach to the people." Highlight, "tarry many days." There is a belief by many religious scholars that it's during this time, Alma teaches Amulek everything he knows about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and prepares him to be his mission companion. Those many days were probably some of the most powerful and spiritual days in Amulek's home. So that's some of the stuff we know about him. Now cross reference that with Alma, Chapter 10, verse four and verse 11. And let's go there. And Jalyn, we'll start with you, and then we'll move to Tyler after that. So Jalyn, will you read verse four, and then read verse 11.
"And behold, I am also a man of no small reputation among all those who know me. Yea, and behold, I have many kindreds and friends, and I have also acquired much riches by the hands of my industry." And then in verse 11, "For behold, he hath blessed mine house, he hath blessed me, and my women, and my children and my father and my kinsfolk. Yea, even all my kindred hath been blessed, and the blessing of the Lord hath rested upon us according to the words which he spake."
Okay, so tell me a little bit. What do we learn about Amulek there?
He's a pretty big deal.
Yes, he's popular.
Do we know what he did for his job, his work?
We don't! That's a great question. I have never read anything. It just says he's wealthy. He is a man of no small reputation. It's a good question. Here's what, we have some other things we do know about them. So the next cross reference is: put Alma chapter 15 verses 16 and then 18. We're going to read so Tyler will you go to Alma, Chapter 15. And then we're going to read verses 16 and 18.
"And it came to pass, the Alma and Amulek, Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the Word of God. He been rejected by those who once his friends, and also by his father, and his kindred." What was the other verse?
Well tell me right now, what did you just learn about him in that verse?
Well, he's, he gave up everything. Everything that he worked his life for and worked hard for he gave it right up for the service of God, and his buddies. That were his, kind of turned on him.
I didn't know that his father rejected him.
Right? I mean, he certainly...
He was rejected by his father and his kindred.
Yeah. Everyone, they want nothing to do with him. And you know, I think this is interesting because Tyler, this is the reason I specifically thought to have you on this episode, was, I thought, I would love to have a man's perspective on this friendship, this relationship that these two have, especially when you are in the business of having someone have your back, like tell me a little bit about your thoughts on this relationship?
Well, it's super important. You know, in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. It's the same for in my life. If I make a traffic stop out in the middle of nowhere, and I'm the only person there my backup could be an hour away. And that's, that's Holland that's running lights and siren. So having someone there with you, at that time, it means the world, honestly it does, to have someone else there with you. You develop a bond and, you know, he becomes your brother at that point, and maybe not a blood brother, but a spiritual brother, I mean, it's family and you treat them as such and develop a really strong relationship.
I kind of want to know too, like as a man, like your perspective of his father rejecting him.
Well, I, you know, from my perspective, yeah, that would, that would actually really deter me, because I put a lot of trust and a lot of faith and to what my dad told me, I looked up to him I thought he was, yeah, I thought he knew literally everything and if he were to rebuke me or something like that, as far as, you know, "Oh, you're going to go off with this guy." You know, "I'm going to forsake you, you're done to me." That would be a huge blow to me. It really would kill motivation.
You wonder with Amulek. I mean, he was raised in Ammonihah, his father could have been one of the ones before that had seen the angels and done all the stuff. For all we know like
For all we know his Dad was that man. And then forsake the gospel. You know maybe at that point it was like well, Dad’s a Wack-a-do anyway.
Yeah, you don't know it's, to lose everyone that you love. For the gospel of Jesus Christ. There's people that know that feeling.
Yeah. And I think the Brotherhood between Alma and Amulek is so much stronger. I think it's so much more important because of that.
Yeah. Oh I totally agree. And knowing that relationship, you have to understand that, in order to understand what comes up in chapters 14 and 15. You wouldn’t comprehend it, if you didn’t know how close, how tight these two were. That leads us to the next verse of scripture that I asked you to read. Go to verse 18, I love this. We’re still in Alma chapter 15, at the end of the mission look at verse 18, what happens.
“Now as I said, Alma having seen all these things, therefore he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla, and took him to his own house, and did administer unto him in his tribulations, and strengthened him in the Lord.”
I think the idea that Alma now is going to take him back home with him. Because his family has rejected him, he’s got nowhere to go. And so he’s like “You know, buddy, come to my house. I’m going to take care of you know. Like you took care of me at the beginning.” Right?
So this is so cool, somewhere on your page or on that sticky note, I’m going to give you two more cross references. And this goes back to the idea of hindsight 20/20. I mean, Alma could not have known that the Lord was preparing, and the angel didn’t even say “Hey listen! The God’s preparing a guy who’s going to help you.” Like the lord even orchestrating this, an angel appeared to Amulek and said “You’re going to go back into the city, there’s going to be a man who’s hungry.” The angel was very specific with Amulek when you read the story. And he says here is what you are going to look for. You’re going to help this person.
I want you guys to cross reference somewhere on that page or sticky note of Alma 8 write this scripture. 1 Nephi chapter 9 verse 6. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. And I’ll read it. It says “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen”
The next group, I want to give you one more scripture reference. And then a great quote about hindsight 20/20. The scripture is in Matthew chapter 6 verse 8. And Jalyn, will you read that for us? Matthew chapter 6 verse 8.
Be not either for like unto them for your father knoweth what things you have need of before you ask him.
Thank you. Tyler will you read this quote for us? By Elder Brook P. Hales, he’s from the quorum of the seventy. And this is what he has to say about 20/20 and how God is working on everything for us, like he did for Alma.
Of course. “The Father is aware of us, knows our needs, and will help us perfectly. Sometimes that help is given in the very moment or at least soon after we ask for divine help. Sometimes our most earnest and worthy desires are not answered in the way we hope, but we find that God has greater blessings in store. And sometimes our righteous desires are not granted in this life...Brothers and sisters, sometimes our prayers are answered quickly with the outcome we hope for. Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the way we hope for, yet with time we learn that God had greater blessings prepared for us than we initially anticipated. And sometimes our righteous petitions to God will not be granted in this life. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Faith also includes trust in God’s timing” (Elder Brook P. Hales, “Answers to Prayers,” General Conference, April 2019)
You know what I find fascinating that I just realized here in chapter… in Alma 15 when we read that? Is how Alma really is a type of Christ in this. In that for Amulek, he's, he's not only he', he's a brother, right? He's his brother. And he also fathers him like his father left him and he's also he's a father and a brother to him in that moment.
Wow, that’s a great insight on that verse. You are absolutely right. And with Alma being that type of Christ, you know it’s very cool how in here, this connection too, because as a type of Christ, you know Christ didn’t want to do what he did in Gethsemane. He prayed, he wrestled with God, in Gethsemane and on that cross. And then ended with “not my will but thine.”
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing when you said about the mission Alma has to go on here in Ammonihah, and and even Christ was like, “Could you take the bitter cup from me?” Like, “I know I have to do it, but Like, oh, it's gonna be hard, but I gotta do it.”
God's saying, like, I haven't orchestrated, I've already got it figured out like it's gonna work out. It's gonna be so great. You gotta just trust me go back into the city, it's gonna work out and speedily he just went in. I just think that's great. That's some great insight. I love that.
We can see how in this story that almost prayers were heard. We see how God intervene before Alma even prayed. I mean, God is already working on it before Alma got on his knees. And then God gave Alma exactly what he needed. And like we read not necessarily what he prayed for. That's what's so great about this. The people's hearts did not change. In fact, they got more and more indignant and mean and we'll talk about that in the next segment.
All right, I just want to jump right in because I want to read about how the people are going to react now to Alma and Amulek . Okay, so Alma's finished, he's done talking to Amulek, he's teaching him, and now here are, here goes their mission, their companionship. And let's just jump right into our chapter nine, we're going to look at verses two, five and six. Because these are really interesting. So here we go Alma, chapter nine, starting in verse two, then five, then six. Jalyn, will you read those for us?
I'm going to give you a little bit more background, these two men, Alma and Amulek, walk into the land of Ammonihah, and Alma began to speak to them, and here's what they say to him.
"Who art, thou? Suppose that we shall believe the testimony of one man, although we should preach unto us that Earth should pass away? Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous works for they were a hard hearted and stiffnecked people."
And verse six.
"And they said, 'Who is God, that send us no more authority than one man among this people to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?"
Yeah, like, who are you and who is God? Alright. So what is that to us? We don't even care and Alma reminds them who he is and their relationship to him and their relationship to God in verse 12. So let's go over there and highlight verse 12. And Tyler, will you please read that for us?
"Behold, now I say unto you that he commandeth you to repent and except ye repent, ye can no wise inherit the kingdom of God. But behold, this is not all. He has commanded you to repent, or he will utterly destroy you from off the face of the earth. Yea, He will visit you in his anger, and in his fierce anger, he will not turn away,"
Put verse 18 in that little space after the word, away, because this isn't metaphorically speaking, this is, "will absolutely, literally happen." So put verse 18, next to that, turn the page. And in verse 18, Alma says the same thing again, if you don't repent, you will utterly be destroyed off the face of the earth. And then I want you to write, verse 24, at the end of that verse in verse 18, where it says the word, "Lord," put verse 24, and then let's read verse 24. Tyler, will you read that for us?
Yes, "For behold, the promises of the Lord are extended to the Lamanites. But they are not unto you if you transgress, for has not the Lord expressly promised and firmly decreed that if ye will rebel against him, that ye shall utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth."
And then in this space right there, write Alma, Chapter 16, Alma 16. And we are not going to study that today, but just so you know, in Alma 16, that—I just like what it says at the beginning, the Lamanites destroy the people of Ammonihah, completely destroy them. So he's really saying, this is some foreshadowing, but this is really going to happen. And they do not like, obviously, they do not like what Alma has to say. And so he's speaking to them, but he's really coming to them in verse 30, he says, "And now my beloved brethren, and for you are my brethren, and he's like, “We really are related. I'm a Nephite, so are you," like, "we—I love you, and I really want you to repent." And in verse 31, it says that the people were wroth, like they didn't even care. They're so angry, and they're so mad. And then we come into Alma chapter 10. And now Amulek's turn to teach, and they sort of tag team each other, I like that about them like, "Tag me I'm in." Amulek jumps into the ring, Alma jumps out, and then Amulek starts to teach.
Now, I'm just going to be totally transparent, I do not think like this. I am not a lawyer. Help me out with these stories verses, Jalyn, Tyler, I asked you guys to help me tell this story because I don't think like a lawyer. What's going on in chapter 10?
Well, anytime you have, I mean, it says, "Alma testifies," and then he gets basically cross-examined, so Amulek, then testifies. So now we have two witnesses and these people who have the book of Deuteronomy, they know that by the, you need two witnesses or more to do it.
In fact look at verse 12, you're totally right. Go to Alma chapter 10, verse 12. I like it says, "And now when Amulek had spoken these words, the people began to me more astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of these things." Right?
Right. And it's exactly what Tyler said before. Like, if he gets called out on a call, you want another witness to be there. Otherwise, it's just his word against the suspect's word.
And so what happens is that Amulek starts to testify, but then you have, you know, lawyers—that my mom likes to remind me are called hypocrites in the scriptures. Yeah, they're going to try and discredit the story. So anytime you cross someone, and it says that they were crossing them because they were, they were lawyers and they knew how to catch them in their words.
So anytime you cross examine someone on the stand, you're doing one of two things: you're either trying to discredit their testimony, like, "Oh, I thought you said the car was red, not that the car was green," like you're trying to make them look like they don't remember the facts as they're supposed to be, right? Or the other way is you can do what's called, impeaching the witness, which means you're trying to discredit the witness's character itself. So if they can, if they can make you say something, that's contrary to what you've said before, that's how they're crossing you, or they could try to say like, "You're not a good person," like you've lied in the past, you've committed other crimes in the past, so we just shouldn't believe a word that you say. And I think they had to go with the cross-the-word thing because you have Amulek standing before you who they all know is like, he's a big deal. So they're going to like try to, you know, ask questions to try and make him contradict what he said before. They're going to try and trip them up.
Okay, Tyler, you were shaking your head, yes.
That is, exactly spot on. I mean, having been in my job, having been on this stand, I know all about that. And it is, it's a chess game. You give your testimony on the stand, and then when it's time for cross-examine, it's, in my experience, I've only had one attorney that's really ever tried to really grill me. And if you keep it simple, you stay to the truth. You see, it doesn't matter. Jalyn is absolutely right. Because they do try to, more or less, ask you the same exact thing just in a completely different way, to see if you give a different response. And if you do, then it's like, okay, so that apparently isn't true, what else have you said that isn't true as well? And that's how you get tripped up and that's, you know, how your case can sort of tank in court, unless you have a good prosecuting attorney who then cross-examines you and clarifies this and that, but if you stick to the basic truth, you make it through it. And I think that's exactly what Amulek did here.
Yeah. Yes, you, I like how you said if you stick to the truth, and stick with the facts. It will always win. That's awesome. Okay, well then let's go in and read these two verses, then we're going to read Alma chapter 10, verse 24, and 25. I want to just talk a little bit about this before we get into chapter 11. So in Alma, Chapter 10, verse 24, Jalyn read verse 24, for us.
Sure. And now it came to pass that the people were more angry with Amulek, and they cried out saying, "This man doth revile against our laws, which are just, and our wise lawyers whom we have selected."
Okay, so I like how you say that like, "Huh," and now I love Amulek's going to keep it true, and he's going to keep it simple. Tyler, will you read his response Amulek's response to their tricks in verse 25.
"But Amulek stretched forth his hand and cried the mightier unto them saying, 'Oh, ye wicked and perverse generation, why hath Satan got such great hold upon your hearts? Why will you yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blend your eyes that you will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth."
Circle the word yield in that verse. We're going to—I'm gonna read this quick quote about the word yield. And this is great. This is Hugh Nibley teaches this he says, “Satan won't have power unless you yield yourself up to him, and that's what they have done here. As Joseph Smith said, Satan cannot force us to sin, and God will not force our free will. So we are responsible. It is by deception that he blinds you. He uses all the correct answers to make us blind by telling us lies-lies like truth. “that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?" You'll understand the words, but not according to their truth. You can twist them-twisting words, as he says, is the lawyer's business. He has outraged their defense; they are the untouchable” (High Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part 2).
But then here it comes, verse 26, which is so great, and I may have even written Jalyn's name next to verse 26, because I just imagine you—read verse 26, because I want to know what you're going to say.
This is like the best attorney thing in the world too, if you're like on the, on the other side and you're like, "For behold, have I testified against your law? You do not understand, ye say that I've spoken against your law, but I have not. But I've spoken in favor of law to your condemnation." There's nothing better than using an opposing party's own words against them.
I wrote mic drop next to the verse too. You know nothing better than Amulek, and boom, right?
There we go. And it makes the people so mad, like they are even more angry than before. So the people have Ammonihah, they struggled. And now they decide, you know, I mean, I can just imagine them like, "Oh, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, what are we going to do?" And then they're like, "We're going to send in our big gun. Here we go. We're going to do this. And let's see how well he fares against this." We're going to talk about who their big gun is. In the next segment.
What kind of influence does money have on us, and on our society, would you say? And the timing of this question seriously right now.
I think money has a large influence, especially right now, during these COVID times, people are losing their jobs, they're struggling to find jobs and make ends meet.
And it causes people to do irrational things.
Where people will call—because I'm now a retirement planner—people will call, and they want to just take it all out, and, and do stuff that just, it doesn't, it doesn't logically make sense because it's so emotionally driven. When we attribute more power to money than we do to God, we cling on way too tight and put way too much emphasis on it, instead of looking at the grander picture of, "God's always giving me everything I need. I don't need to hang on with an iron fist."
I think money gives us a false sense of security in the long run.
It's hard not to when you live in a, I mean, I would say how much of your thoughts does money permeate? How often do you think about it in a day, in just a regular day?
Oh, I think about a lot.
So we have Alma chapter 11, and this is our money chapter. Because you're probably reading it going, "What is the deal with all these limnahs, ezroms, senums, shiblon, all of these different money types?" And one of the things that we have to understand is that the reason why it's giving us information is because yes, money has always been important, even in the scriptures. And it's setting us up for this story with Amulek. So I want to give you a little bit of information about the money, so you can have a perfect schema for why this is such a big deal.
Go into Alma chapter 11, verse seven, and seven says, "A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain." highlight measure of barley. Now this was really interesting to me. And I read this in, Hugh Nibley's teaching of the Book of Mormon.It's every, it's what I could find about why it's called a measure of barley.
He says, “Notice that things were measured in terms of barley. This is very interesting because the first Babylonian and the first Egyptian money were always the amount of silver necessary to buy a measure of barley. It was always barley. It wasn't emer wheat or the other grains they had. But barley was it. It was the word for money, and it was what they used. It started in Babylonia supposedly that barley was a silver standard, but the final decision was how much you could buy with it, of course. That was determined by how much you would have to pay for a measure of barley. But the fact that it's barley they refer to, I think, is very striking because nobody knew that in Joseph Smith's day. It wasn't until the 1850s that they discovered that. It first came out in the Babylonian [civilization], and then later was discovered in Egypt that barley was the standard.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Part Two 2, 317)
And so I always like to find reasons again, prove that how did Joseph Smith know this? He didn't. And then it goes through all these different money types. Now go down to verse 13. And you need to mark this one.
Hey, real quick, Tammy, do we know what the measurement was? I mean, in our day is it like a cup? Is it like a–
I couldn't find anything on that! That is a great question. I really want to dig into that. So I'm going to look into it some more and I'll share what I find on social media.
Let's go to verse 13. I want you to mark that because this is the verse that's the most important it says and an onti, ontee, however you want to say it, and an onti was as great as them all. And the reason why you need to know it's as great as the model is here's some information what we do know about this bit of money. It was a piece of silver with the greatest value and one onti was equal to approximately one week's wages for a judge at the time.
Okay, Tyler, let's go in and find out why we need to know that sum of money for these next verses will you read Alma chapter 11 verses 21 and 22. And we're going to look for what did Zeezrom want Amulek to do.
“And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, if it be according to the Spirit of the Lord, which is in me; for I shall say nothing which is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord. And Zeezrom said unto him: Behold, here are six onties of silver, and all these will I give thee if thou wilt deny the existence of a Supreme Being.”
Okay, what was Zeezrom’s offer? What is he trying to entice Amulek with?
Money? Six weeks of a judge's wage?
Yes. I mean, that's a lot of money to specifically be a judge's wage. And when you read those verses, what does he have to do for the six weeks of labor?
All he has to do is deny that there is a God
No big deal right? Fingers, like in fifth grade cross your fingers behind your back. It doesn't really count. It still gets the money.
Yeah, I do feel like it's very fascinating that we learn the whole money system. Just to point out how crooked like the the legal system is. And basically, nothing's changed.
You know, and also kind of makes me wonder how rich was Amulek, was that even a temptation?
That's a good point.
Because we know that he was very wealthy, but was that even a temptation? Who knows?
Yeah, he understood money. He was a very wealthy man.
Well, it said he gave us gold and silver. It never said he gave up his ontis. I don’t know.
Well, there you go. What I like is his response. I have marked verses 23 and I draw a line down to the end of verse 25, because here is Amulek’s response to Zeezrom’s question and I want you to think about, we’re going to talk about what it tells us about Amulek with this response so Jalyn will you read 23 through 25?
Yeah. “Now Amulek said: O thou achild of hell, why btempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations? Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that alucre more than him. And now thou hast lied before God unto me. Thou saidst unto me—Behold these six onties, which are of great worth, I will give unto thee—when thou hadst it in thy heart to retain them from me; and it was only thy desire that I should deny the true and living God, that thou mightest have cause to destroy me. And now behold, for this great evil thou shalt have thy reward.”
You know, it reminds me of? And Tyler, you may have experienced this before but like, you know, when you get like a cocky, you know, like an opposing counsel on the other side, and they're asking you stuff and you know, all you've done is to tell the truth, like you've just told the truth, and they get up there and they try to do like, “Well, if I…” You know, think how they're being so crafty. And you see right through it. And I always kind of think Amulek’s going, “Oh, you're so cute that you think that I'm gonna like fall for that,” Like, that's right where you're like, “Oh, this guy thinks he's got me and I just I know I'm telling the truth. There's no way around that.”
Again. It's a chess game, you know?
Well and especially for him to call out Zeezrom. You were never going to give me the money. I wonder if this is the turning point for Zeezrom. Like, how did he know that? Oh, that's right. He can interpret the thoughts and intents of my heart. We know that he has that gift. We've read that. And so here's Zeezrom like, “Oh crap. Ah.”So then he starts asking questions and they engage in this chess match, if you will, Tyler I like the way that you use that. So Jalyn, give us your professional opinion on what's going on here in this conversation between Amulek and Zeezrom. And we're going to start that an Alma chapter 11. And it starts in verse 26.
So Zeezrom, after Amulek s response, he he hasn't really, he's not deterred at first. He says, was there more than one god like he's specifically setting them up. And anytime you, you cross examine a witness, you already know exactly what questions you're going to ask. You ask it in a very specific way to get a very tailored response. You don't want ‘em blabbing away. And he's just, so is there more than one God is there? He's setting them up exactly how he wants to get them. And Zeezrom obviously knew a lot about the gospel, because he had to have enough knowledge to know how to ask those questions.
I love how you put that you're totally right.
Yeah, you do a lot of research to be able to cross examine someone. Uh huh. Yeah, he knew. He was very smart about it.
That's why they sent him in. You're totally right. And so I think what's interesting Jalyn is that he keeps plugging away at him and then Amulek does exactly what Tyler said. He sticks with the truth. He goes for the facts. He says it like it is and look at the reaction he gets in Alma chapter 11. We're going to read verse 46. And then we're going to cross reference two more verses. So, Tyler, will you read verse 46?
“Now, when Amulek had finished these words the people began again to be astonished, and also Zeezrom began to tremble. And thus ended the words of Amulek, or this is all that I have written.”
Okay, they tag team go into chapter 12. And Tyler, will you please read verse one and then verse seven.
“Now Alma, seeing that the words of Amulek had silenced Zeezrom, for he beheld that Amulek had caught him in his lying and deceiving to destroy him, and seeing that he began to tremble under a consciousness of his guilt, he opened his mouth and began to speak unto him, and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done.”
Very good. And now go down to verse seven.
“Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they aknew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.”
I'm like, boom, best missionary moment ever. What's going on here? Right? What are you thinking? Tell me.
Well, that's, I don't know, that's a win.
They've got to feel good about that one. Uh, you know, the one that's causing the most heartache and the most headache, especially among the people is silenced. And now, he's starting to tremble and think, oh, maybe there's some truth to this.
And it's fascinating because again, what he did is that he used the truth to the condemnation of Zeezrom, because he tried to get him to say, “Oh, you're saying there's a son of God, that can can command, you know, the father?” And and he's, you know, “Can they save him in their sins?” And he said, “You can't save them in their sins. No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God. He can’t save you in your sins, and that’s why there is a Savior.” And I think the truth just was so powerful that I think Zeezrom, you know, it just backfired. Like he couldn't deny it at that point. Like, there was nowhere to go with that. And so then it's kind of like he starts to ask just for his own personal things. “Well, is there?” You know, “Well, tell me about this.” Yeah.
I don't want to go too far backwards, but to kind of support what Jalyn was saying. I have a quote if I can read that really quick regarding saving. So this is by in the book doctrinal commentary in the Book of Mormon by Joseph Fielding, McConkie, and others, he says, “Even the omnipotent, all powerful one, the Lord Jehovah cannot save His people in their sins, He came on a search and rescue mission to save people from their sins” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and others, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume 3, Pg 76).
So I think it ties in directly to what Jalyn was saying.
It exactly does. And that ties into exactly what Alma and Amulek are teaching. And that's what causes Zeezrom to tremble. He's like, “Oh, gee, ah.” And as he trembles and Alma tag teams in in chapter 12. In the next segment, we're going to read how Alma brings it home and what it is that Alma teaches that really causes a change of heart with some of the people.
Okay, I want to just dig right into the story and read it right out of the scriptures. So we're going to go to Alma chapter 12. And we're going to read verses three through eight. And we'll each take two verses. So Jalyn start us out. And then Tyler and then I'll read.
Sounds good. “Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in they lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou has lied unto God; for vehold, he knows all they thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit; And thou seest that we know that they plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightiest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out–“
“Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all. And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity.”
“Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy. And Zeezrom began to inquire of them diligently, that he might know more concerning the kingdom of God. And he said unto Alma: What does this mean which Amulek hath spoken concerning the resurrection of the dead, that all shall rise from the dead, both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works?”
And so Zeezrom gets into this conversation like, “Well, now I kind of want to know a little bit more.” And you can see that things are starting to change. But what's so interesting is that as Alma has a chance to speak, we're going to look at verses 14 and 15. So go over to verse 14, because he says, “Well, tell me a little bit about this final judgement day that we're going to be judged according to our works.” What do you think's going on in Zeezrom’s brain right now with that question?
“Oh, crap, I've done a lot of stuff.”
Yeah. “What have I done in the past that I can remember?”
It’s like, again he used the law to Zeezrom’s condemnation and then Zeezrom has to condemn himself listening to it back slowly. “Wait, what's gonna happen to me?” Yeah.
Well and then I like how Alma’s like “Oh, and by the way–“ and then let's read verse 14, verse 14 says:
“For our words will condemn us, yeah all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and out thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could comman the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence”
We've had the conversation and Jalyn you were with us when we talked about thoughts become words words become deeds, you phrased it perfectly like it was on a vinyl lettering or something.
Well, thoughts create emotions and our emotions lead us to speak stuff, right like our words, it's could be a fake sentence in your brain but you have a reaction to it. And then we act based upon that.
Well and I was wondering with Tyler, how relevant is this verse in your line of duty in your work?
It's amazing how people like to talk. And in my line of work if if we have somebody in custody and we're going to be charging them and we know we’re going to be charging them usually on our way down to the jail, we let them say whatever they want to say. And we just either have it recorded or we just make mental notes of everything that they're saying. Some people don't say anything but a lot of people, “Why did I do this? I can't believe it. I screwed myself, my family's gonna be so disappointed in me. I can't believe I did this.” Those are easy. Those that don't want to say anything? Obviously we have uh, they have their due process and we have to take steps to ensure that they understand what their rights are at that point, then we can try to try to buddy them up. “Hey, what happened with this? Why? Why are we doing this?” You know?
So yeah, I see it, I see it a lot. I see it even in the judicial side of things, where people have already been arrested, and now they have their day in court, so to speak. And they come in and they're, they're now you know, hoping and praying that the judge is going to be lenient or merciful or whatever. But yeah, their thoughts, their words, especially their actions, absolutely condemn their freedom, so to speak.
Isn’t that just proof that we were all born with the light of Christ, because we usually self-condemn, like, we're going to be the ones, we're going to be like, “Oh, geez, I just hope the rocks fall on me.” Most people will talk or they'll get to that moment where you realize and this is exactly what Zeezrom is doing, is he's realizing and asking now well, what is going to happen because you can't deny the light of Christ that when you act contrary to that, you know, it's not in accordance with who you are, spiritually.
Elder Oaks, gave such a great talk. It's one of my favorite conference talks that he has ever given. It's called “The Challenge to Become.” And in it, he talks about the effect that thoughts, words and deeds have on every single one of us. And so I want us to read this quote, in light of this idea that that is being taught to see Zeezrom. Jalyn, will you read this quote for us, please?
Sure. “From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” General Conference, October 2000).
I love that idea that we're judged on what we have become. And you Tyler you've definitely seen this, like the people you arrest don't all of a sudden wake up that morning and decide today I'm going to break the law. It's, you say it's a process of choices and decisions and things that have led them to that moment?
Absolutely. Absolutely. That and I would also add, on occasion, probably outside influence, whether that's friends family, whether that's some sort of a substance alcohol, drugs. But absolutely, but that quote right there, I mean, that gives someone like me hope because I'm not a perfect person by any means. I've done bad things in my past. And but that doesn't define me and it just gives me hope that you know, when when my time comes to be judged that God and whomever else is in that process will look at me and say, “Yeah, you've done some stupid stuff, man. But this is where he ended up. And because that's where he ended up. This is what we're going with.” So it gives me a lot of hope.
You sounded just like your dad just then, “You've done a lot of stupid stuff, but you know kid, you made it.” That’s something your dad totally would say, “You made it.” I really do think that about us. In fact your your dad is, he's a very wise man because I think Alma chapter 12 verse 15, sounds just like him. This is exactly how it'll be for us with our Heavenly Father like you did good kid. Tyler, will you read verse 15 for us now,
“But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgements are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful uto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.”
So I do find it fascinating that Alma and Amulek, they bring it back to Zeezrom and, and give him a little bit of hope that he will be judged justly and fairly. Alma and Amulek they answer Zeezrom’s question and they expound on it but the whole time they're expounding on it, they talk about works and thoughts and actions and about how you can change that. And then in 34, they really give him some hope.
They're saying that “whosoever repenteth, and hard enough, not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son into remission of his sins, and they shall enter into my rest.” And Zeezrom is clearly, I mean, he started shaking. He's so nervous about what's going to happen to him, and then to have them lovingly expound, even though they're like, could have been like “Take that. You were just out-lawyered.” Or as my sister likes to say, “You mean, annoy-ered?”
Your family doesn't like lawyers very much. I appreciate that. Yeah, all of that that you just said. I'm looking at verse 32. Because I do love the way they describe God in the end of the very last thing they say about him in verse 32. And I just can't help but think that maybe Zeezrom’s heart was a little bit pricked at this moment, in a good way, when they said, according to the supreme goodness of God, and just to put our Father in that term, the supreme goodness, it doesn't get any good-er, right? Like it's the most good, the supreme goodness of God is for everyone, and he will forgive everyone. And I just I think the beauty in these verses are so powerful. And you can see how powerful they were with the way that Zeezrom is reacting, some did believe and Zeezrom was among them. And that is the beauty of this whole story. And this discussion, is that the plain and simple truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ will always take the Queen. Going in the chess metaphor, I don't even play chess, was that right? Did I say that correctly? It will always win.
You want to take the king but yeah.
Oh, King, thank you. It will always take the king, whatever you're taking, it always wins every single time. So tell me real quickly then after our discussion today, what was your takeaway? What was something that sort of just touched you or that you didn't realize, or that maybe was reconfirmed to you?
For me it was the as Tyler helped, helped me see the Brotherhood between Alma and Amulek , and how amazing that relationship was. And to see that he was a type of, Alma was a type of Christ and that relationship
Yeah, for me, it's okay if we're not perfect. As long as we keep trying. We do good. We'll get to where we need to be. And I'll close with good old J. Kimball, J. Golden Kimball. “I may not always walk the straight and narrow, but I try to cross it as often as I can.”
For me, there's hope for attorneys. Yes.
There is hope for attorneys. That's awesome. Yeah, I think for me today definitely was just the recognition of Alma being a type of Christ. Because that was really, that was powerful. And I'm so glad that you brought that up. Everything you guys shared, was just perfect for today's lesson. And God orchestrated again, things before I even knew what was going on. There's proof of that. So thank you for joining me.
Well, for those of you who are listening, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from today's episode. If you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or followed us on Instagram, you should. It's a great place to ask questions as you study and to answer some of the questions that we asked you today. I would love to know what your thoughts were. When you do ask questions. I try to answer anything that you guys post and I do it during the week and every week at the end, usually on Sundays, we call for a post asking what your big takeaway was for the week, comment on the post that relates to this lesson, and I want you to tell me what it was that you guys learned. I read every single one of your posts, and I try to respond to them because I just love hearing what you're learning.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDSliving.com/sundayonmonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have links to all the references, and we have an entire transcript of this whole discussion. So, check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Desert Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our awesome fabulous study group participants were Jalyn Peterson and Tyler Collet. And you can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/sundayonmonday. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with postproduction and editing by Erika free. It's recorded and mixed by Mix at Six studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And, God is aware of you because you are his favorite.
I left some– I left a word out.
He did. He asked me earlier, he's like “If I read a quote by J. Golden with a swear word in it, can I do it?” And I'm like, sure.
Just, just bleep yourself.
What do you think KaRyn? Will we have to edit it out?
“I may not always walk the straight and narrow but I sure in *beep* try to cross it as often as I can.”
Good ol’ J. Golden.
Love that guy. He gives me hope.